Climb Kilimanjaro

12 Days in Tanzania / (Skill level: Introductory)

Price per person

$4,350 - $5,850

About this trip

Extend your adventure to include the extraordinary Safari for just $1500.The combination of Alpenglow's internationally certified guides and the premier Tanzanian logistics coordinator give you the highest possibility of safety and success. Experience every ecological zone in the region and minimal crowds on the Rongai Route.

Overview

  • skill level

    Introductory

  • Duration

    12 Days

The summit of Kilimanjaro stands at 19,341 feet (5,895 meters), the highest point in all of Africa and one of the famed Seven Summits. Our expedition travels away from the crowds by climbing the Rongai Route. While somewhat longer than the busier routes, the trek is stunning. As it climbs from the trailhead at 6,000 feet (1,829 meters) to the summit, it passes through every ecological zone found in this area of East Africa. You begin in rainforest, pass through alpine pines, then into grassland, alpine tundra, and eventually the barren world of the crater itself. And over the first 5 days on the mountain, you will see few other climbers or camps.

Kilimanjaro is the perfect place to experience climbing a high-altitude peak without needing years of experience or training. While the days can be strenuous, our route is non-technical (there is no rock climbing, ice, snow, or ropes). We will also be assisted on our climb by a stellar team of local Tanzanians acting as porters, kitchen staff, and local guides. Their experience and local knowledge will not only make your trip more comfortable (each day you carry only a light day pack, and the food is hearty and tasty), they will also add to your understanding of this mountain and the local people.

Summiting Kilimanjaro is a proud and attainable accomplishment (our teams have over a 90% success rate on on this mountain). The climb and summit are only half the fun of this expedition. After descending the Marangu Route on Kilimanjaro (on the other side of the mountain from our ascent), we say goodbye to our Tanzanian mountain staff and meet our safari guides and Landcruisers. Safaris in East Africa are unparalleled in the world for seeing big game and huge herds. For us, it is the perfect way to pamper ourselves after the hard work on the mountain. We spend three full days exploring two of Tanzania’s most famous game parks –Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti. Nights are spent in luxury eco-lodges inside the parks, while during the day our local guides will help us to find and better understand the incredible wealth of big game. We will see huge herds of zebra and wildebeests and also spot more solitary animals like giraffes and cheetahs. With three days of safari we will experience most or all of the “big five” animals – lions, leopards, rhinoceros, cape buffalo and elephants.

While many tour companies take groups on Kilimanjaro, it is important for you to understand the difference you are choosing by climbing with a mountaineering guide service and with certified guides. Our itinerary allows ample time to acclimatize so that you can actually enjoy this peak (we take seven days when many companies take only five). Our guides are full-time mountain professionals which means they understand the hazards involved in climbing a peak this big. While the route itself is not technical, Kilimanjaro is still a very serious undertaking. Accidents do occur each year on the mountain, and generally they are on teams without experienced western mountain guides. Choosing to travel with Alpenglow Expeditions will increase both your safety and your enjoyment of Africa’s tallest peak. Our Kilimanjaro Expeditions will be led by one of Alpenglow’s AMGA certified lead guides. AMGA (American Mountain Guides Association) certification is the highest possible training available to guides, and only the most experienced and dedicated attain it. Our lead guides have been climbing and guiding around the world for at least a decade, including multiple trips to Kilimanjaro. We combine our North American guides’ experience with the local expertise of one of Tanzania’s best climbing and safari logistics operators. This ensures we have the best in private transportation, food, naturalist guides, and lodging and that your experience will be one you will never forget!

Preparation

  • Fitness

    Trekkers must be in great physical shape to join this expedition. This is perhaps the most important aspect of high altitude trekking, and cannot be stressed enough. Regular, challenging exercise for many months in advance of departure is the only way to gain the necessary level of fitness that is needed. Please contact us for more information on physical training.

  • Altitude Experience

    No prior experience at altitude required.

    • Day 1 — Arrive in Tanzania

      Arrive into Kilimanjaro International Airport in the evening, where you will meet your guides. Transfer to our hotel in Arusha, at the base of Kilimanjaro, where we have a team dinner.

    • Day 2 — Explore Local Villages

      In the morning we explore the local villages that surround the base of Kilimanjaro. In the afternoon we hold our first team meeting, and organize our gear for the climb.

    • Day 3 — Head to our First Camp

      Drive to the Rongai trailhead, with stunning views of the mountain along the way. Once there, we meet our Tanzanian porters and staff, organize loads, and then begin our climb through lush forests. Four hours of walking will take us to our first camp, at 9,500 feet (2,696 meters).

    • Day 4 — Move to Camp at 12,000 feet

      Our 6 hour hike takes us out of the humid forest and onto a stunning ridge with our first views of the upper crater walls of Kilimanjaro. The trail continues climbing on this ridge to our camp at 12,000 feet (3,658 meters).

    • Day 5 — Hike to Mwenzi Tarn

      Today is a five hour hike to the Mwenzi Tarn. This camp is a favorite with our groups. The camp at 13,000 feet (3,962 meters) is next to a small lake and below the Mwenzi Towers, with unbelievable views of the entire summit cone and our route to the top.

    • Day 6 — Kike to Kibo Hut

      Today’s hike takes us through the last of Kilimanjaro’s vegetated zones and into the barren alpine world of the upper mountain. A four hour hike takes us past species of plants found only here on Kilimanjaro’s upper flanks, and ends at our camp at the Kibo Hut, at 15,500 feet (4,724 meters). This camp is the staging point for many teams’ summit push. With so many other climbers here, the camp has a true international feel.

    • Day 7 — Acclimatization Day

      Today is an important additional acclimatization day. We wake up, eat a good breakfast, and go for a 2-3 hour hike to a bit over 16,000 feet (4,877 meters). This dramatically aids in our acclimatization, and gives us a perfect view of our summit route. We get back to camp early, and spend the afternoon resting and preparing for our summit attempt.

    • Day 8 — Summit Day

      Summit Day! We wake around midnight for a hot drink and snack and then begin our climb. The first 5-6 hours are steep and we occasionally scramble over rocky sections (no ropes or technical experience are necessary) as we ascend the crater wall. Around sunrise we top out on the wall at Gilman’s Point and step onto the crater. The route from there crosses the small crater glacier and then ascends easily to the true summit, the highest point in Africa at 19,341 feet (5,895 meters)! Our descent is via the Marangu route. After at least a 12 hour day we will set camp at 12,000 feet (3,658 meters).

    • Day 9 — Head down to our Hotel

      Six hours of easy descent take us through the Marangu’s lush rainforests (a completely different ecological zone than we saw on our ascent) to the end of the trail (6,000 feet/1,829 meters) and our van. We return to our hotel for much needed showers and a celebration dinner. Those who only have time for the climb fly home after dinner however, we highly recommend our safari, an unforgettable East African experience.

    • Extended Itinerary Below

    • Day 10 — Head to Ngorongoro Crater

      A 3 hour drive in the morning takes us to the Ngorongoro Crater. Ngorongoro holds the highest concentration of big game anywhere in Africa. It is an unbeatable place to see herds of wildebeest, zebras, antelope, and buffalo, along with the predators that feed on these herds – lions, cheetahs, and leopards. It is also one of the better places to spot rhinoceros. We will return to our hotel on the rim of the crater that evening.

    • Day 11 — Drive to Central Serengeti

      Today we drive to the central Serengeti to continue our Safari. We end our day at a luxury tented camp in the central Serengeti.

    • Day 12 — Final Safari Day and Departure

      An early morning wake up call for a half day game drive allows us to explore at best time of the day when animals feed. An afternoon bush plane flight brings us back to Arusha in time for evening flight out.

      • Head

      • Kaenon Klay sunglasses

        Must have dark lenses. Minimal light should come in below, above, or around the sides of the lenses.“Wrap” style is best. Ventilation is important and a retainer strap recommended (Chums or Croakies).

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      • SmartWool Balaclava

        We recommend a tight-fitting balaclava that is worn under your hat. Make sure that it covers as much skin as possible and yet still comfy.

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      • Patagonia Lined Beanie

        A comfortable, warm well-fitting hat that covers your ears. Make sure that your beanie fits under a helmet. We also recommend the Marmot Summit Hat.

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      • Marmot PreCip Baseball Hat

        A great hat to help keep the sun out of your eyes and keep you cool on warm days.

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      • Hands

      • Black Diamond guide glove

        These gloves should be full GORE-TEX®, with a removable fleece liner (so you can take the liner out and dry it at night). The warmer the liner the better.

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      • Marmot Windstopper glove

        You will rarely take these gloves off.  They should be snug-fitting, and have some sort of reinforced palm.

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      • Feet

      • LaSportiva Hyper Mid GTX hiking boot

        Can be anything from a mid-weight waterproof hiking boot for moderate to rugged terrain with light/moderate backpacking loads to a light mountaineering boot. Think light weight though, as we will use our climbing boots for the more difficult terrain higher on the mountain.

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      • LaSportiva Bushido hiking shoe

        These light to mid-weight shoes are for every day use. The ideal shoe is comfortable to wear for multiple days and scrambles decently on rock. A Gore-tex lined shoe stays drier when hiking in rain or snow. High top hiking boots are heavy and unnecessary.

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      • Darn Tough 1/4 cushion hiking sock

        These are your every day sock, good for day hikes, trekking and town days.

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      • Darn Tough Cushion boot sock

        Your go-to mountain sock. It is very important to dial in your boot/ sock combo, as everyone will have a slightly different fit in their boots. Merino wool has become a guides favorite, and we have found these socks to be a solid performer.  NO COTTON.

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      • Upper Body

      • Icebreaker long sleeve Top

        A merino or poly-pro base layer that you will wear often. Fitted, light-weight and quick drying.

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      • Marmot Greenland Jacket

        A puffy jacket with a hood that will keep you warm during the coldest of conditions. The higher the quality down, the better (800-fill is best). However, be sure the jacket is still lightweight.

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      • Marmot Minimalist Jacket

        A lightweight, waterproof and breathable jacket WITH A HOOD that can withstand extreme weather conditions. Make sure you have pit-zips and if you are using an old jacket, re-waterproof it. PacLite® is preferred for lightweight.

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      • Marmot ROM softshell jacket

        While this item isn’t required, we know that those who don’t have one wish they did! More breathable than Gore-tex, these jackets block wind and light precipitation.

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      • Patagonia Nanopuff jacket

        Warmer than your expedition weight top, but not as extreme as your big puffy jacket. Full zip is recommended.

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      • Patagonia tropic comfort hoody

        This lite weight hoody has become a guide favorite for almost every day spent in the mountains. This layer can be worn on hot or cold days, and shields you from the sun during long hours spent outside.

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      • Patagonia R1 hoody

        A poly-pro mid-layer that you will wear often. Fitted, light-weight and quick drying. Make sure it is long enough to tuck-in and we recommend zipper collars for more ventilation.

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      • Icebreaker Tech Lite shirt

        Light base layer that effectively wicks moisture away from your body and is breathable. Quick-dry is important as well. One light colored shirt is recommended for extremely sunny days.  We have found that merino wool is the superior material for base layers, as they regulate body temperature very well, and are extremely odor resistant.

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      • Lower Body

      • Arc'teryx Atom LT insulated pants

        Full-length side zippers are recommended, for throwing on top of all of your layers.

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      • Marmot Minimalist Pant

        Your waterproof bottom layer for extreme weather days. Make sure you have water-resistant zippers, crampon patches + good pockets.

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      • Marmot Scree Pant

        You will spend most of your days in these pants. Choose Schoeller® or a soft-shell equivalent. Breathable + water-resistant. These pants should have an ankle zip so they will accommodate your mountain boot.

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      • Patagonia expedition weight bottoms

        Fitted, light-weight and quick drying. The mid-weight will be a base-layer that will get you through a wide range of temperatures.

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      • Icebreaker long underwear

        Fitted, light-weight and quick drying. This base-layer will get you through a wide range of temperatures. NO COTTON.

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      • Patagonia Shorts

        Throw these on under other layers for when the sun begins to beat, or you have a sudden urge to jump in a glacial lake. Lightweight, durable and comfortable. NO COTTON.

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      • Equipment

      • Nalgene 1 liter water bottle

        Two Lexan 1 liter, wide mouth bottles.

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      • Black Diamond Trekking Poles

        Must be collapsible poles. Make sure that they are durable, lightweight + easily adjustable. You must have at least one, but we recommend 2.

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      • Black Diamond Spot Headlamp

        L.E.D. headlamps are required.. Make sure they have 3+ bulbs. Bring extra batteries. We highly recommend a tilting lamp.

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      • Marmot Col sleeping bag

        Rated to -20º F. Choose an 800+ Fill Premium Goose Down bag. Make certain that the sleeping bag is the right length. DON’T FORGET A COMPRESSION SACK FOR THE SLEEPING BAG. Many climbers also like a silk liner. Recommended: Granite Gear Compression Sack.

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      • Therm-a-rest NeoAir Therm sleeping pad

        72 inch long inflatable pad required. Make sure you also purchase and bring a repair kit + bag for the sleeping pad.

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      • Marmot Long Hauler Duffel

        These bags should be extremely durable, waterproof, and big! You should feel comfortable leaving it in a puddle for several hours. Remember dry clothes are hot commodities in the mountains! Large enough to fit everything you own, plus what you anticipate buying.

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      • Black Diamond Speed 50 pack

        Internal frame pack that is between 50 and 60 liters. This pack should be comfortable, lightweight and fitted to your body.

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      • Black Diamond Bullet pack

        A small pack for city days and trekking. Streamlined, neat and lightweight (10-20 liters). This pack is also great to use for your carry on luggage.

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    • Would you consider doing a custom Kilimanjaro expedition?

      We always welcome custom inquiries. Nearly 50% of Alpenglow’s expeditions are customized.

    • What level of fitness is required?

      Climbers must be in excellent physical shape to join this expedition. This is perhaps the most important aspect of high altitude climbing, and cannot be stressed enough. Regular, challenging exercise for many months in advance of departure is the only way to gain the necessary level of fitness that is needed on big peaks. We highly recommend a structured training regime with a gym or personal trainer to assist you in preparing for climbing at altitude. Please contact us for more information on physical training.

Zeb Blais

From bushwhacking miles of Manzanita in ski boots to traversing huge glaciers in exotic ranges, adventure draws Zeb in. Originally from Vermont, Zeb has been hooked on big mountains since his first ski tour in Jackson Hole and has pursued skiing, climbing and exploring ever since. Zeb has climbed and guided in the Himalaya, Alaska, Argentina, Mexico, Ecuador and Asia among others and he’s working hard to keep that list growing. Working as a mountain guide allows Zeb to share his passion for human powered movement in the mountains and to pass along what he’s learned along the way.

Zeb has successfully guided Mt Everest [29,029′], Lobuche East [20,075′],  and four expeditions on Denali [20,320’], including a ski descent from the summit. He has completed 64 summits of Mount Rainier [14,410’]. Additional credentials include 12 summits of Mount Shasta [14,179’]; 5 summits of Mount Shuksan [9,100’]; 3 summits via Mount Baker [10,678’], including one ski descent from the summit, and two ski descents via the North Ridge; 2 summits of Aconcagua [22,841’]; 1 summit of Cotopaxi and 1 summit of Cayabme; 2 summits of Ixtacihuatl in Mexico; 3 summits of Orizaba in Mexico, including a ski descent from the summit; and numerous rock, alpine and ski summits from the Cascades, Sierra Nevada, Coast ranges and Rockies.

Zeb is an AMGA certified ski guide.

Guide Certifications
  • AMGA Certified Ski Guide

Logan Talbott

Director of Operations / Mountain Guide

Logan has been guiding professionally for over 10 years in the disciplines of Rock, Alpine and Ski Mountaineering. When not out guiding, Logan keeps things running smoothly as the director of operations at Alpenglow Expeditions. From one day ascents of El Capitan to big Alpine climbs in the Himalaya, from ski descents on Denali to backyard ski tours in Lake Tahoe, he can’t help but smile when out running around the hills. Logan is an IFMGA aspirant mountain guide, a certified Ski and Rock Guide through the AMGA, an Avalanche course leader through AIARE, as well as a wilderness EMT. In addition to guiding, Logan has extensive experience in mountain rescue, having worked for rescue teams in both Yosemite and Denali National Parks, and volunteering locally for Tahoe Nordic SAR. When not out in the hills, he lives in Truckee, CA with his lovely wife Lynette and spotted dog Arlo.

Guide Certifications
  • AMGA Certified Rock Guide
  • AMGA Certified Ski Guide

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